I've been pretty happy with the results of using a Raspberry Pi and Chilipeppr (http://chilipeppr.com/grbl
) to stream all of my jobs to my Emblaser over the last couple of months.
However, what I really don't like is the nest of cables created by the Pi - it adds an extra power cable and a LAN cable to the Emblaser (along with USB), making it quite an unsightly mess.
However there is a solution ... there's a large space available inside the back of the emblaser on the right hand side - a perfect spot to mount the Pi. I just had to sort out the power and LAN situation.
Here's my final solution:
1. Cut the Emblaser's power cord and replace it with an Anderson PowerPole (standard flexible 12V connector - what I use for everything)
2. Split the PowerPole output so that it goes to both the Emblaser's motherboard and also into a 5V BEC to power the Pi (over the GPIO pins)
3. Mount the Pi in a 3D printed case to the inside-top of the Emblaser, and the BEC to the aluminium base, along with the new PowerPole connector. I used servo tape which is clear and almost invisible, so I didn't have to cut into the acrylic.
4. Hook up the Emblaser motherboard to the Pi with a short USB cable.
5. Replaced the wired ethernet on the Pi with a USB WiFi adapter.
This means I can power the entire setup with a single power cable, and jobs can be sent to the Pi over wifi to handle everything without needing my PC. Principally this allows me to take the whole thing outside so that I'm no longer cutting in my study.
The BEC powering the Pi uses about 250mA of power (at the 12V input) with everything running - I understand there is at least this much headroom available in the Emblaser power supply so this shouldn't cause a problem.
I'm planning on mounting a Pi Camera to do time lapse video of my cuts in due course (should be good!). Chilipepper has some extensions to handle this natively.